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Israel claims air strikes near Syrian capital Damascus

Posted by Agence France-Presse on


Israel said Sunday it struck bases of the Islamic Jihad militant group near Damascus, while Syria claimed that its air defences shot down “enemy missiles”.

The Israeli army said in a statement that fighter jets “struck Islamic Jihad terror targets south of Damascus,” following rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

“In the Adeliyah region, outside of Damascus, an Islamic Jihad compound was struck, used as a hub of Islamic Jihad’s activity in Syria,” it added, while confirming a number of other strikes in Gaza.

Islamic Jihad operates in both the Palestinian territories and Syria and fired more than 20 rockets from Gaza throughout Sunday.

An AFP correspondent in Damascus heard several strong explosions shortly before midnight (2200 GMT).

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attacks were “near the Damascus international airport”.

The Syrian state news agency Sana said “most of the enemy missiles were shot down before reaching their targets,” stressing that “no airport” was struck.

Earlier Sana said the anti-air defences were activated against attacks “in the Damascus area”.

Since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria, mainly targeting government forces as well as allied Iranian forces and Hezbollah fighters.

It is rare for them to claim such strikes directly.

A missile attack blamed on Israel in mid-February killed three Syrian and four Iranian fighters in the Damascus airport area, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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